Posts

insightful interview questions

5 Insightful Interview Questions You Should be Asking

If you have an interview coming up, chances are you’ve spent a decent amount of time preparing answers to typical interview questions. And while it’s essential that you are ready for whatever questions are thrown your way, have you thought about the questions you’ll ask? Inevitably at the end of every interview, your interviewer will ask, “So, what questions do you have for us?” Don’t get caught empty-handed! These are just a few insightful interview questions for candidates to ask at the end of an interview that will leave a great impression.

How could I make an immediate impact in this role?

This is a great question to kick off the last part of your interview. Most importantly, it allows the interviewer to picture you in the role. However, it also gives you a significant hint as to how you can be successful if hired. Listen for key indicators of success; do they expect you to hit benchmarks immediately? Or is there an extensive training period that you need to conquer first?

How does this role interact with other team members and departments?

The answer to this question will be valuable in understanding how you would fit into the greater company puzzle. Depending on the response, you will also gain insight into whether it’s a good fit for you personally. It may be a more independent role with limited interaction with other team members, or it could be highly social with interactions on multiple levels.

What excites you most about working for this company?

This question is strategically worded for the interviewer to answer depending on their interpretation. They may talk about all of the things they love about working there. Or, they may delve into some exciting future projects. Either way, feel free to ask a follow-up question to get the other answer!

How would you describe the company culture here?

Hopefully, you did your due diligence before the interview and gained a basic understanding of the company culture. However, asking an interviewer this question can give you insights you can’t get online! Moreover, they may share some insider information about company get-togethers and office comradery.

What are the next steps in the hiring process?

You will find this question on every list we write because it’s arguably the most important! Asking about the next steps shows your interest in continuing with the process. Additionally, it will give you valuable information about when you can follow up without feeling like a pest.

Hopefully, these five insightful interview questions will help you reach success in your next job interview. And if you’re looking for some great answers to common interview questions, here’s our helpful guide.

modern interview questions

How to Answer 5 Modern Interview Questions

Interviewing has changed significantly over the years. From handshake agreements to video conference interviews from halfway around the world, modernization has changed how we find and hire candidates. As a job seeker, this means that you could always encounter something new during the hiring process. Today, we’re covering five modern interview questions and how you should answer so that you can nail your next interview!

What’s something you could teach me?

In today’s modern workforce, there is a large discrepancy in age and, thus, experience. Baby Boomers have years of industry experience that comes with a wealth of valuable knowledge. Likewise, Millennials and Generation Z grew up in the age of tech, which often comes with its own advantages. To answer this question, focus on a unique value that you have acquired throughout your career or experiences. Try not to make assumptions about what the interviewer knows or doesn’t know right off the bat!

What Podcasts do you like to listen to?

According to 2019 statistics, 51% of Americans have listened to a Podcast. If you are part of that group, you probably have a great answer ready to go! If not, we suggest jumping on board. There are thousands of Podcasts available for consumption on anything from industry news to pop culture. Depending on how formal the interview is, you may want to adjust your answer. Although, you never know if a bond over Bachelor-related Podcasts could be what makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates!

Do you keep up with current events? How do you consume your news?

Of course, you should be keeping up with current events daily, but how you are consuming news can be a bit tricky. We’re going to spoil it for you a bit by saying that social media alone is not an acceptable answer. We encourage you to add industry news to your daily email subscriptions. No matter what your specialty is, there are always new advancements and industry trends of which you want to be aware.

Pro tip: check out our blog to stay up-to-date with industry news and the current state of the labor market!

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Questions like this bring levity to an interview. There is absolutely no right or wrong answer (as long as the song is appropriate)! The interviewer is merely trying to make you feel more comfortable and turn the interview more conversational. Have fun with your answer (and be prepared to follow through if you get hired and invited to employee karaoke night!)

Why are manhole covers round?

This popular modern interview question comes up in interviews with large companies more frequently than you’d think. You may know the answer (click here to find out!), or you may not. What really matters is the thought process behind your answer. With thought-provoking questions like these, feel free to think out loud so that your interviewer can get a glimpse into your thought process.

Keep these five answers in mind when you head into your next interview. And if you are looking for some more interview advice, check out all of our great interview recourses!

behavioral interview questions

Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Asking Candidates

Interviewing candidates can be challenging. Not only is it time-consuming, but there’s a lot of pressure to determine precisely if this person will be the right fit for your position, team, and company as a whole. One of the best ways to do this is via behavioral interview questions. In fact, behavioral interviewing is often considered to be the most effective technique across different levels, organizations, and industries. 

Here is a quick synopsis of behavioral interviewing from SHRM

“Behavioral interviewing focuses on a candidate’s past experiences by asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Answers to behavioral interview questions should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past. This information often reveals a candidate’s actual level of experience and his or her potential to handle similar situations in your organization.”

So, which behavioral interview questions should you ask to compare candidates and determine their qualifications objectively? Let’s jump right into a few of our favorites here at JSG.

Describe your proudest professional accomplishment. 

This is a great question to kick off a behavioral interview. It allows the candidate to reference something they’re passionate about and get comfortable right off the bat. When listening to their answer, try to pick up on a couple of cues. Do they credit other team members? How significant of an accomplishment was it? Did this accomplishment assist in propelling their career development further?

Tell me about a time you failed. What could you have done to make it better, and how did you move past it? 

Everyone has failed at some point in their career. In fact, your best candidates will have experienced plenty of failures. The difference is that they will have learned and grown from each situation. Avoid candidates who dance around, giving an actual failure. This is not the time for a fluffy answer of “I care too much.” You want a real answer that demonstrates that the candidate is self-aware and capable of learning from and moving on from shortcomings.

Give me an example of a time when you had to work with someone whose personality was different from yours. 

This question can be tricky to answer. You are NOT looking for the candidate to throw a previous coworker under the bus. You should be, however, interested in discovering how they handle conflict in general. Do they address it head-on or look for support from upper management? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, but the insights you gain can help you understand how to manage this person best. 

Describe a time when you were juggling a lot of different projects. How did you prioritize? 

The logic behind this question is two-fold. First, you’ll be able to understand what the candidate deems as “a lot of projects.” Secondly, you’ll get an inside peek into their thought process. Everyone gets overwhelmed at times; it’s how we handle it that’s most important.

Behavioral interview questions are a great technique to determine if a candidate is a right fit for the position and your team. If you want to read some of our other go-to interview advice, check out our blog!

dress for your next interview

How to Dress for Your Next Interview

dress for your next interview

The market is hot, and if you’re included in the over 30% of American workers that are seriously considering leaving their jobs, you may have an upcoming interview. But what should you wear to your interview? Well, that depends! Different employers, industries, and departments have specific expectations on what you should wear. Here is a brief guideline on how to dress for success in your next interview.

Manufacturing/Labor setting

If your job interview is in a manufacturing or labor setting, you obviously don’t want to show up in a suit and tie. Instead, wear a button-down shirt and some nice jeans. If you will be on the manufacturing floor or walking around the job site, be sure to wear your steel toe boots! You will more than likely receive a brief tour and want to ensure you are prepared to walk the premises safely.

Professional setting

If you’re interviewing in a professional environment, you will want to dress the part. Wear a suit and a tie or a skirt and a nice blouse. Wear neutral colors and be sure to limit the accessories/jewelry you wear. You want the focus to be on you as the candidate, not what you are wearing. Try not to wear anything that may distract your interviewers. And be sure that your fancy dress attire is nicely pressed and ironed!

Casual setting

If your interview is in more of an informal setting, then you have the opportunity to dress a step down from professional attire and wear a business casual outfit. In this setting, you will want to wear some nice pants and a button-down shirt, maybe a blazer at the most. You don’t want to come to your interview way overdressed. Again, you want the attention focused on you, not what you are wearing. And be sure to wear some nice shoes! Even in a casual setting, you want to wear shoes that leave a great impression. Don’t walk into the front door of your prospective employer with those old grungy sneakers you wear to mow the lawn.

Video interview setting

Last but not least, there is even a dress code for a video interview. Here, you will want to dress appropriately for the employer’s dress code. If it’s a casual setting, dress business casual in your interview. If it’s a professional setting, wear your suit jacket or a nice blouse. You don’t need to put your entire outfit on; however, your interviewers will be able to see you from your torso up, so dress accordingly. Just because you’re at home for this interview doesn’t mean you get the luxury of wearing your pajamas. Bonus tip: be sure you have a clean, plain background for your interview. You don’t want to have a bunch of clutter around you to distract your interviewers (or even yourself) from the conversation.

If you are not sure what the dress code is for the employer, just ask. The hiring manager or human resources professional will be happy to share this information. And if you are still not sure what to wear, it’s always wise to dress a step up than to come in underdressed for your interview.

why do you want to work here

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” In An Interview

why do you want to work here

If you find yourself in a job interview in the near future, there is a high chance your interviewer asks something along the lines of, “Why do you want to work here?” We live in an age where technology connects us in more ways than ever. However, interviewers still like to ask this question to gain an understanding of the motivations behind your job search. The good news is, you can use the web to your advantage and arm yourself with a great answer to this question.

Answers To Avoid In An Interview

First and foremost, you want to avoid giving a completely one-sided answer. It’s important to stay away from anything that focuses only on how the job will serve you. Your prospective interviewer is well aware of the perks and benefits offered at their company. Next, do no say you just want this job to pay the bills. Highlighting these things only comes across as self-serving in a setting where you are trying to show the value you will provide to them, not the value you will receive as a result.

Finally, don’t use this as an opportunity to bash your former employer. You may be unhappy with your current role, but it isn’t appropriate to focus on negatives while trying to improve your situation with a new company.

What to Focus on Instead

Instead, focus on how you identify with the company. Are you a lifelong user of their service or product? Do they have a mission or cause that resonates with you? Do you have a lot in common with their employees? Use the information you’ve gathered online to form a solid opinion about the company. We also recommend that you reference comments made by the interviewer throughout your meeting. Did they mention that the team is extremely collaborative? Or that you’ll have the independence to run your own desk? This serves a dual purpose in both answering the question and showing that you’re listening. And most importantly, don’t forget to mention how well you envision yourself fitting within their company culture.

interview

Don’t Forget This Prep Before Your Next Interview

interview

You submitted your resume and cover letter and were fortunate enough to secure an interview. You’ve actively been performing due diligence, trying to get a feel for what it’s like to work there. You’ve selected the perfect outfit, and are practicing responses to commonly asked questions you’ve found online. While these are essential in your preparedness for your interview, many candidates forget these preparation steps that make them stand out from the competition.

Soften Up

Your hard skills are likely what moved you from the resume to the interview stage. But now that you’re here, your soft skills and character will also play a part in the hiring decision. Soft skills are a mixture of your social, people, and communication skills that, combined with your personality traits, allow you to understand an environment and work well with those around you.

A recent survey of over 5,000 talent professionals reveals that 91% felt that soft skills will be important to the future of the workplace. Soft skills topped this list that also included work flexibility (72%) and anti-harassment (71%). 45% of those interviewed indicated that bad hires often lacked soft skills, with another 44% claiming it was a lack of a combination of soft and hard skills. As you can tell from these numbers, employers want to hire people who have soft skills. So how do you showcase yours and what can you do to prepare this information?

Tell Your Story (Then Prove It)

Leading up to the interview, practice is key. While researching common interview questions can be helpful, it’s key to practice talking about yourself because it’s harder than you think. Make a list of your top three to five soft skills. They should be clear and specific, as you aren’t hinting at being adaptable, you are telling them you are adaptable. While apprehension is common because this can feel like bragging, it is exactly what this time has been allotted for. This is your chance to talk about yourself, rather than counting on the hiring manager to connect the dots on their own once the interview has concluded.

Now that you’ve shared your soft skills, you need to back it up. Words mean nothing without evidence. A statement about being adaptable will be much more powerful with proof behind it. So, make sure to back this claim up with a quick but relevant example. Try to showcase a situation when you demonstrated the soft skills discussed.

Sticking with the adaptability example, one could share a story about taking on more responsibility in a previous role. Just be prepared to explain any example you give. The best way to ensure that your story proves your point is to practice ahead of time.

job interview

2 Things You MUST Do Before Your Job Interview

job interview

You’ve seen the headlines. The job market is so hot right now; there are more jobs available than people unemployed. In December 2018 alone, 5.5 million individuals that reportedly left their job (with 3.5 million leaving voluntarily).  So, many professionals find themselves looking for their next opportunity. And while you’ve probably been through an interview process or two throughout your career, a refresher can be helpful for anyone!

Research

The first place to begin is with yourself. Review the resume you submitted to ensure you can discuss any detail you included. And don’t forget to touch base with your references. They may be receiving a call to gauge your qualifications and highlight skills or experiences listed on your resume.

Review any dress code that may be in place for your interview. Ideally, the hiring manager or HR will share this expectation with you. Every industry and company has different expectations. In contrast, if you be work with a recruiter from JSG, they will fill you in on acceptable attire.

Reviews on the site Glassdoor can also provide insight into company-specific interviews. These reviews often mention dress code and other first-hand accounts of the company, employees, and culture. Leverage these insights to gain a better understanding of the company and to demonstrate a familiarity with the industry.

Small talk during interviews can be a total momentum killer. Therefore, familiarize with the latest industry news and trends relevant to the position and company. However, be sure to stay away from topics that are polarizing or controversial.

Know Your Value

After the initial steps described above, you’re now able to begin calculating your value. You reviewed your skills, specializations, and experiences to show you are qualified for the position. Thus, you can now identify the standard compensation for someone in a similar role across the city, state, and country. You can do this by leveraging sites like LinkedIn and analyzing their salary insights.

Did you know you have access to a database full of transparent compensations? Professionals across all industries have provided valuable salary insights you can use to compare your market value. Once you have identified an acceptable figure, explain how you arrived there during your job interview. Your explanation should be clear and concise.

Read more about job interviews and other career advice here. Or click here to get in contact with a Johnson Service Group Recruiter and begin finding your dream job today!

Interview

A Cheat-Sheet for Interviewing

Interview

So, this is it. After spending hours filling out applications, fine-tuning resumes, and writing cover letter after cover letter, you receive a callback; you finally get an interview. The interview in this hypothetical situation could be face-to-face, or it could be done through video conferencing. Regardless of your proximity to the interviewer, what doesn’t change in either situation is the intent of the interview.

This potential employer needs to decide if you’d be a good fit for this company, for their culture. They need to verify the skills you claim to have, and what you would bring to their organization, should they decide to hire you. They will make this decision based on your education, experiences, references, and your answers to the various questions they’ll raise. These interview questions will vary industry to industry; however, there are a few questions that are applicable and seem to be asked, regardless of what the job is.

Tell Me a Little Bit About Yourself

This question is easy! It’s all about you – and who knows you better than you? However, it is not uncommon for people to overthink and mess up. This question’s only purpose is to serve as your introduction. It’s not your life story, it’s two or three specific accomplishments unique to yourself or your life. This is a quick-pitch, a summary of your skills, and how those skills connect to the company or job you are interviewing for. You need to prioritize relevancy. If you are sharing a story about a program you coded in college while interviewing in Information Technology? Perfect. A story about your love of fishing while interviewing with a bank? Less than useful.

What is your Biggest Weakness?

Believe it or not, this question is not meant to highlight your weak skills, but to test a person’s self-awareness. While there are answers that are clear red-flags, like answering leadership when interviewing for a management position, most interviewers are looking for internal-reflection. Try to provide an example that balances your weakness with examples of how you combat this.

Someone who answers with time management, and then goes on to explain that they use planners, email reminders, and calendars is a perfect example. You show you’re aware of that weakness and the steps you’re taking so it doesn’t get the best of you. The ability to come up with a weakness also shows you cannot just take criticism but can look critically inward for self-improvement.

Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

This question is often presented at the end of the interview. It is one last chance to leave the interviewers with a lasting impression, and stand out from the competition. While information about the company, the job, and its basics will likely be topics during the main portion of the interview, asking good questions will do two things. It indicates high interest in the job and allows you to showcase any additional research you’ve done leading up to the interview. The question I recommend is, “If you hire me, what are your expectations for the first month, first six months and first year?” This example demonstrates you are a forward-thinker. As well as a planner and lets those making the hiring decision envision an outcome where you are the chosen applicant.

job interview

How to Nail Your Job Interview in 2019

job interview

Can you believe that 2019 is finally here? For many people, a new year is a great opportunity to explore the job market. If you’re looking to change things up this year, finding a new position is a fantastic way to find a career you’re truly passionate about our work for a new employer that has a great company culture.

But joining the job market can be overwhelming. Especially in this tight job market. In December of 2018, U.S. employers added an impressive 312,000 jobs. If you’re entering the job market this year, you have tons of options to choose from! With more jobs than workers to fill them, you will find yourself being called back for lots of job interviews. And in 2019, here’s how to nail them!

Due diligence

We talk about this all of the time, but you must do thorough research on your prospective employers. Before you go in for a job interview or pick up the phone for a screening, sit down and do some research online.

Your best friend when doing some due diligence on your prospective employer is LinkedIn. Jump onto LinkedIn and check out the company’s profile. There, you will find information about the company, see who works there, and get an idea of what the company culture is like. By looking at who works there, you may find that you are connected with someone who already works there, and you can reach out to them for a recommendation or some inside on the interviewers.

Don’t forget to check out their website and other social media platforms, too. These will give you better insight into what’s going on with the company. Plus, they can help give you some great talking points about the employer for your interview!

Ask thought-provoking questions

Even in this job market, you will be forgettable to hiring managers if you fail to ask solid questions in your interview. If you don’t come prepared with good questions, it illustrates that you either weren’t prepared or are uninterested in the position.

After your due diligence, you should easily be able to come up with a few solid questions. And by good questions, I don’t mean that you should try and stump the interviewer. But you want to ask questions that are thought-provoking and show that you did your homework.

If you need help coming up with some fantastic interview questions, here are a few of our favorites.

Write a killer thank you note

A quick and thoughtful thank you not is essential to seal the deal on any job interview. You want to write a thank you to each of the interviewers. If you don’t have their contact information, you can usually find them on LinkedIn or after a quick Google search. Don’t forget to send a custom thank you to each person!

Do you know what each interviewer will do once they receive your thank you message? Go and talk to the rest of their colleagues. This is your time to shine! By writing a personal thank you note that reflects on something from your interview, you will really wow your interviewers.

If you need some help writing a killer thank you note, we have a few tips for you.

The job market is crazy out there. You have tons of options and exciting new opportunities at your fingertips! If you nail that interview, you can start 2019 off on the right foot with a new job.

stand out from the competition

How to Stand Out From the Competition in An Interview

stand out from the competition

When it comes to job interviews, chances are you have experienced your fair share. Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or are poised to finally make that jump to Director or Vice President, a job interview is one of the last things that stands between you and the job you hope to hold. While every job, company, and interview are different, there are several things you can do to stand out from the competition, regardless of where you are applying.

Research, Research, Research

When applying to work anywhere, it is imperative you are educated on what your potential employer does. Spend time familiarizing yourself with both the broad goals and if possible, the day-to-day operations of the company. Search sites liked LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find what current or former employees have to say about working there. Familiarize yourself with basics like expectations, experience with bosses or the CEO, and salaries. Set Google Alerts that will help keep you up to date with any company related news or current events. Referencing these in interviews will help you stick out from the competition and make you more memorable.

Once you’ve finished your due diligence, ensure you can connect what you have learned back to the rest of the company. In-depth knowledge is great, but its relevance to the questions you will be asked in the interview is what forms a lasting impression. If you have a chance to ask questions, make sure they connect to what you have learned, as good, relevant questions are drastically better than the typical, “Do people like working here?” and showcase your critical thinking.

Remove these Buzzwords from your Vocabulary

Last month, Glassdoor released a list of words to never use on your resume. This list was a follow up to a September article titled, 13 Must-Have Words to include in Your Resume. Sticking with this train of thought, there are various words or phrases to avoid when face-to-face with your potential employer. Stay away from words like “responsible” or “responsibility.” Everyone interviewing will list the various tasks they were responsible for.

Instead, be specific, and use words like “create,” “lead” or “managed,” as these convey your ability to strategically set goals and follow through. Always use words that convey large amounts of detail, as being vague may raise red flags or result in a dull, forgettable interview. If you established a new policy or completed a significant project, use words that highlight your achievements. Try words like “Redesigned,” “Launched” or “Modernized,” as opposed to just listing items as if you were reading off a list.

Preparation on the Day of

On the day of, there are a few things you can do leading up to the interview itself to improve your chances of landing the job. Eating and hydrating adequately before will help calm your nerves and lessen your body’s natural responses to stress, like sweating or bad breath. Leave at a time that allows you to arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes early. This will gives you a chance to collect your thoughts. It also prevents you from stressing about showing up late because of traffic lights, construction, or an accident; tardiness to the interview will often result in viewing you as un-hirable.

Once you have arrived, use the rest of the time before the interview to your advantage. Be aware that the interview started the second you walked in the door. Stay off your phone, speak respectfully, and try to get a feel for the company culture in its natural environment. This can be the most honest view of a company you receive before being hired. It can give you a better idea of how a company operates and those you’d be working with, that you may not receive in the actual interview.

If you follow these three tips, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and nail that interview. Good luck!